Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020

“We were sleeping” says Bottas after falling from first to third

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas said Mercedes were “sleeping” with their strategy after finishing third in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Having started from pole position, Bottas was overtaken by Max Verstappen following his first pit stop, and lost second place to team mate Lewis Hamilton in the final laps of the race. He described his race as “very frustrating.”

Starting from pole and finishing third is not ideal,” said Bottas. “As a team we were sleeping at some points, when Max managed to get ahead of us. My strategy was far, far from ideal. We’ve got to learn from there I think.”

Bottas said he had been told to reduce his pace when Verstappen jumped ahead of him following his first pit stop.

“When I lost the track position to Max I was asking if I could go faster because I was managing the tyres around that time. But then I got a message that the priority was to keep the tyres in a good condition.

“Then obviously he came out from the pits pretty much side-by-side and got me into turn six, seven. So then I knew it could be tricky but I was hopeful that there would be opportunities.”

Mercedes brought Bottas in for his second pit stop on the same lap as Verstappen, but Hamilton ran longer and was able to pass his team mate at the end of the race.

“The middle stint was quite short,” he said. “We boxed and I could see Max stopping at the same time and I knew it was going to be tricky.

“Towards the end, mid-to-end of the last stint, I tried to push flat out to create opportunities. I was catching slightly but then the tyres gave up completely.

“So for me definitely I should have gone long in the second stint, the last stint was way too long and that’s when I lost a position to Lewis.”

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Keith Collantine
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27 comments on ““We were sleeping” says Bottas after falling from first to third”

  1. But then I got a message that the priority was to keep the tyres in a good condition.

    Poor Bottas, that is good condition for Lewis.
    Still thinks he is on par with Lewis in the team order.

    1. I guess there’s a clear contrast with how Verstappen responed to a similar urging from his team (though in different conditions), with the team being conservative and Bottas complying, rather than taking opportunities (not sure whether team or Hamilton decided to run longer), it is hard to see him end up on top.

  2. Yeah…… “sleeping”….

  3. Dear mr. Bottas, when will you learn that setting the fastest laps straight after pitting is stupid?
    Not saying you would have won, but you probably would have finished 2nd.

    1. True. Not sure what he is complaining about. He ran 13 laps on the medium tire, then 19 on hards and another 20 on hards, which to me looks like a fairly decent strategy. Hamilton, on the other hand, ran 27 laps on hards, followed by a tiny 11-lap stint on the same tire. If anyone was on a weaker strategy, it was Hamilton.

  4. Bottas is a sensational wingman LOL.

    1. People keep giving him version numbers such as Bot 2.0 Bot 3.0. I say forget that and lets just name him Barrichello 2.0.

      1. Schumacher handed back the Austria 2002 win to Barrichello at Indy 2002.

        Hamilton still owes Bottas for Russia 2018.

        But that’s why they call him a “sensational wingman” LOL.

      2. Get real, he’s just Bottas in that regard: best no.2 in F1 ever. Barrichello didn’t play 2nd that much to Schumacher. Then, Barrichello had the guts to make a big deal out of it whenever ”something” happened. Bottas is too much of a gentleman so, all he does is to keep it more or less neutral and let us read between the lines.

    2. Yea, shame Max hasn’t got one. Or won’t he allow someone that close in his team?

  5. To win a championship, the mentality of a champion is needed, both in racecraft, the ability to understand a car at any point of the race and the spine to challenge a team decision.

    1. Agree 100%. Bottas will win championships when he begins to race for himself first. With Lewis it seems the priority are Lewis 75% and the team 25%. With Bottas it seems it’s 25% for himself and 75% Mercedes. I wonder what Bottas would have done if he had gotten an instruction from his team to manage tyres and drive slow like we saw with RBR instructing Max to look after his tyres. Nevermind it’s a rhetorical question as Bottas would have 100% followed orders.

    2. Exactly this.
      We heard Hamilton questioning the condition of the tyres after the stops to understand if it was just blistering or tyres worn out. He wanted to understand and was obviously pushing for answers to help steer the strategy.

      Valteri doesnt seem to do this and just follows instructions whatever they may be. I dont think we’ve ever heard him questioning or challenging the strategy in races, although i guess it just may not be broadcast but thats the kind of thing they would usually air. It seems odd to challenge things after the race… too late then !!

  6. The problem Bottas had is that driving to secure 2nd would have probably only given him a 3 point swing over Hamilton (could have been 4 or 2 points depending on the FL point).

    Even at this stage of the season driving is secure a 3 point swing should hardly worry Hamilton so he needed to drive for victory to try and make a proper dent in the 30 point gap and get some confidence from winning from a tough position.

    He also needed to beat Verstappen to try and keep the championship a two horse race for his own championship chance. If it becomes a genuine three horse race with Verstappen I can see MB giving Hamilton priority like 2018 which will just be painful beyond belief for him.

    1. This crossed my mind today too while I was watching the last part of the race. It could be that Mercedes is favouring already HAM and trying to prevent VER from getting too close in the points standings.

      1. @mg1982 Not sure that MB are already favouring Hamilton tbh, I think circumstances were against Bottas. I just think that with all the success and winning that MB have had, second simply isn’t seen as good enough and Bottas was their best option to win so they tried to win with him. Maybe I’m being naive but who knows.

        Good example of win at all costs mentality was Brazil last year where MB could have taken a very easy second but seemed to take ever more desperate gambles to try and win.

  7. Bottas came in too early – he shouldn’t have followed Verstappen in. It’s an interesting question if Mercedes didn’t give him the option to stay out given how their car was eating its tyres compared to the Red Bull he was never going to catch Verstappen and it was inevitably going to leave him vulnerable to Hamilton. As he was the ‘lead car’ you’d think he’d get the preffered strategy? He really didn’t here.

    Bottas needed a good result and starting from pole he really should have. Getting beaten by Hamilton – again, despite leading him for most of the race isn’t a good look for the championship, especially now Verstappen’s passed him. I really thought Bottas had a championship win in him sometime, but I rather doubt it now – either from his own inability or Mercedes never quite letting their drivers fight each other directly.

  8. Those accusing Mercedes of favouring Hamilton forget that Bottas got the first priority on pitstops and rightfully so. After the first round of pitstops, Bottas came out around 4 seconds ahead of Lewis. Had the tires performed ‘normaly’, it would have been a straight forward victory for Bottas against Hamilton.
    It is just to undermine the performances of Lewis that some people say Bottas is the number 2 driver or a slow driver. The truth is Bottas has developed into a very fast driver at Mercedes. A top 5 driver. So give credit to Lewis for beating him fair and square but the Lewis haters will fail to do so.

  9. Merc threw Bottas under the bus there. He pitted with the understanding that Ham was also doing it – you could tell that Hams strategy was pure guesswork from his worried comments.

    Makes it seem that Bottas was never even given the option to stay out longer.

    1. It made no sense following Max in because it was clear that the Mercs couldn’t compete with Verstappen in straight fight to the finish.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      9th August 2020, 18:48

      This is exactly what I thought. Hamilton really did seem to want to pit pretty much right after Bottas and was clearly worried about his tyres. So I really don’t get why they didn’t pit Hamilton at this stage ratehr than Bottas. Bottas’s tyres were in pore shape, but Hamilton’s significantly more so. If anything, Bottas should have been the one doing the long run as he hadn’t been suffering from following close like hamilton had. I don’t think the win was realistic for Mercedes, despite what Botats thinks, but he deserved 2nd, looked to outperform hamilton over the weekend pace wise, but despite that, hamilton somehow is slightly fortunate with the strategy and gets ahead. For any that think Bottas should have finished 2nd even with the circumstances given should conciser just how huge the advantage of 10 lap newer tyres will be when they give up so fast. It also doesn’t help that Bottas wasn’t even told that hamilton was going long. That must very very annoying.

  10. And if the roles were reversed Ham would have probably got him; and Bottas would still be complaining about Ham being pitted first.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      9th August 2020, 18:53

      I very much doubt that? Did you see the state of Bottas’s tyres vs Hamilton’s when bottas did his 2nd stop? Bottas’s were in far better shape. I’ll admit this wasn’t to do with how well he was looking after them – more just Hamilton suffering from dirty air.

      Given his pace advantage earlier on, if he then pushed in that stint and Hamilton pitted (hamilton was 7 seconds behind when Bottas pitted), it is very unlikely that by the time Hamilton catches Bottas (if he did) that he would have enough pace left to get by. As he will have been following for longer with older tyres and they likely will have done exactly what they did in the early stints – which was that Hamilton’s dropped off before Bottas because of the dirty air.

      1. We will probably find out in the Merc race report later this week, but I did note that Ham was just as fast as the other two on their new tyres. Possibly because Max was controlling the pace. So why not keep him out? They seemed pretty confident of the tyres lasting, although Ham had reservations; so it was hardly a strategy he was happy with.

        1. @riptide Verstappen was controlling the pace indeed. He only pushed at the end of his stints. It seems Hamilton was trying to make a 1-stop strategy work and only realized very late on that it wasn’t possible, so he had to stop again, which wasn’t optimal. I’m surprised he still managed to attack and pass his teammate, though. Bottas had track position and the better strategy, yet he still lost.

  11. Looks to me like MB wanted to try to win the race and so tried two different strategies once they saw RB pace. Bottas was unlucky as he was leading and his strategy seemed to be slower, or maybe it was just the driver who was slower?

  12. Unfortunately the term ‘sleepy’ seems to describe Bottas pretty well.

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